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Libya rebel chief denies negotiations with Gaddafi regime

Libya's National Transitional Council's leader denied that members from his council had any kind of negotiation with Gaddafi's regime officials

AFP , Friday 17 Jun 2011
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Libyan rebel chief Mahmud Jibril denied Friday suggestions by a Russian envoy that the insurgents had been negotiating with Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

"I can assure you there is and there was no negotiation between the NTC and the regime," the head of the rebel National Transitional Council told a press conference in Naples.

Speaking alongside Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, Jibril said that were negotiations to take place, the NTC would "announce it out of commitment to our friends all over the world".

"We pursue every means possible, whether political, whether military, to liberate our country and establish democratic government based on a constitution and equal rights," he said.

Russian envoy Mikhail Margelov said in Tunis earlier Friday that representatives of Gaddafi had made contact with the rebels in a number of European capitals, including Berlin, Paris and Oslo.

Margelov said the Libyans needed an opportunity to negotiate, "a mechanism that brings them together and if the international community can provide such a mechanism that would be a great help".

Frattini also questioned the possibility of talks between the two sides.

"Italy has always encouraged the search for contacts and a solution based on dialogue but unfortunately the regime has not sent any positive response and has always demanded that Gaddafi's remaining in power be guaranteed," he said.

Frattini said that he trusted in the NTC to "determine the criteria and methods for establishing a channel for dialogue but in no way to legitimise the current regime, which is being isolated internationally".

Frattini predicted that top Libyan leaders would be targeted "in a few days" by international arrest warrants, making it impossible to give them any legitimacy.

International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is seeking arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Seif Al-Islam and Libyan intelligence chief Abdallah Al-Senoussi, deemed most responsible for crimes against humanity in Libya.

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